PRESEASON GAME NO. 4
DETROIT LIONS (2-1) VS BUFFALO BILLS (2-1)
RALPH WILSON STADIUM, ORCHARD PARK, NY 7:00 PM
PRE-GAME CHAT: http://lions.theinsiders.com/3/chat.html
(ALLEN PARK) - Don't expect much action from the Detroit Lions starters in
the final preseason game tonight. Look for Joey Harrington, James Stewart and
Charles Rogers to play about a series. Mike McMahon will likely finish up the
first half with Ty Detmer coming in to mop up.
Detroit's main goal in this one is to come out healthy and be ready for next week's regular season opener against the Arizona Cardinals (Sept 7, 1:00 p.m. Ford Field) and decide who the backup's are at several battles that have gone down to the wire.
Most interesting is the cross position battle that shapes up between fullback Stephen Trejo and tight end Casey Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons has been productive at the tight end position, but with three veteran listed ahead of him on the depth chart conventional wisdom would dictate that he is the odd man, but not so fast.
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Fitzsimmons will get some reps at fullback and if he show that he can lead block on running plays and catch the ball out of the backfield, he could stick as a combination player. That something that would lead Trejo, who's been less than impressive, out of a job.
Another interesting match up shapes up in the interior offensive line where
its beginning more and more to look like the end of the line for battler Tony
Semple. An undrafted free agent out of Memphis, Semple worked his way from the
practice squad into a starter. While several challengers to his starting
position have come and gone, Mariucci has settled on Eric Beverly at Semple's
old left guard position. With versatile Kerlin Blaise playing well and young
players like Josh Lovelady and Tyrone Hopson on the roster, Semple could be a
While we alluded to this in yesterday's "Paws for Thought" that free agent signee Wali Rainer is on the bubble. No one expected the outstanding play Detroit has gotten from 5th round pick James Davis. Davis has virtually claimed the backup middle linebacker spot behind Earl Holmes leaving Rainer looking for a place to play. Now with Dante Curry, Jeff Gooch and Brian Williams all ahead of him, Rainer may not make it.
In fact, three free agent signees, Rainer, along with Shawn Bryson and Chris Watson all have a chance of meeting the ziggy on Friday afternoon.
While it's a virtual certainty Detroit will be watching the waiver wire for defensive backs, Jameel Powell, Gerald Dixon and 7th round pick Blue Adams are all on the spot. Adams has shown enough ability that even if cut Detroit would like him on their practice squad. Adams has made plays, but makes too many mistakes.
Detroit will get younger at safety, keeping Terrence Holt and likely cutting Bracey Walker in favor of the oft-injured Lamar Campbell.